swell·​ing | \ ˈswe-liŋ \

Definition of swelling

1 : something that is swollen specifically : an abnormal bodily protuberance or localized enlargement
2 : the condition of being swollen

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Synonyms for swelling


bump, knot, lump, node, nodule

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Examples of swelling in a Sentence

There was a swelling above her eye. The swelling around her eye should subside in a few days.

Recent Examples on the Web

The contused areas show the swelling to be receding. Tammy Ayer, The Seattle Times, "47 years, zero answers: 16-year-old Toppenish girl disappeared after Christmas Eve 1971. Her sister refuses to give up the search.," 4 Nov. 2018 Sometimes, in a phenomenon known as a large local reaction, the redness and swelling can be a few inches in size. Dipesh Navsaria, Houston Chronicle, "What parents should know to prevent — and deal with — bug bites," 6 July 2018 Sila engineered its micron-scale particles so that the swelling happens inside the particle structure, with very little external change. Ezra Dyer, Popular Mechanics, "Your Gadgets' Battery Life Could Be About to Get Much Better," 19 Oct. 2018 The swelling started around scratches that Perez had on his right leg, family told WTXF. Josh Magness, miamiherald, "Flesh-eating bacteria may cost a man all his limbs. He got it while crabbing, family says," 10 July 2018 Mild redness is normal, but any swelling or beefy red skin may signify infection or a poor reaction. Lucy Diavolo, Teen Vogue, "A Tattoo Artist's Guide to Your First Tattoo," 2 Jan. 2019 Trumbo received an injection in his knee on Friday, but did not have the knee drained – which has also been planned for Friday – to reliever the swelling. Eduardo A. Encina, baltimoresun.com, "Orioles notes: Mark Trumbo now likely to avoid disabled list," 26 May 2018 But the family says doctors had to remove a portion of Hannah's skull because of swelling and that the girl appeared to have been punched. Cliff Pinckard, cleveland.com, "Baby-sitter accused of abusing Ohio girl, 3, causing brain damage," 12 Mar. 2018 The Mississippi River is currently undergoing its seasonal swelling as rainwater and snow melt from further upstream bottlenecks through the waterway on it way to the Gulf of Mexico. Chelsea Brasted, NOLA.com, "Barge hits Gov. Nicholls Street wharf Tuesday," 6 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'swelling.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of swelling

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for swelling

Last Updated

2 Feb 2019

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Time Traveler for swelling

The first known use of swelling was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for swelling



English Language Learners Definition of swelling

: an area on someone's body that is larger than normal because of an illness or injury
: the condition of being larger than normal


swell·​ing | \ ˈswe-liŋ\

Kids Definition of swelling

: a swollen lump or part


swell·​ing | \ ˈswel-iŋ- \

Medical Definition of swelling

: an abnormal bodily protuberance or localized enlargement an inflammatory swelling

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More from Merriam-Webster on swelling

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with swelling

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for swelling

Spanish Central: Translation of swelling

Nglish: Translation of swelling for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of swelling for Arabic Speakers

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